One More Week to Study

BPPConnolly-lsat-blog-last-week

As you approach a black hole, the world starts looking faster, bluer, and hotter. Time is dilating and gravity is drawing you into the darkness. As they’re closest to the singularity, tidal forces pull most strongly on your feet, so your body “spaghettifies.” It elongates until it snaps in two. You hurdle toward the inevitable, sight unseen, into oblivion.

Approaching the LSAT can feel similar. [Note: There is no 5-dimensional bookcases involved in this metaphor.] The October LSAT is now days away, and it’s hard to know what to do as time runs out. Some people might want to cram in as much studying as possible in the next eight days. Others might want to start easing up and let gravity take over.

What’s the best approach? As said Aristotle would say:

So virtue is a purposive disposition, lying in a mean that is relative to us and determined by a rational principle, and by that which a prudent man would use to determine it. It is a mean between two kinds of vice, one of excess and the other of deficiency.

In other words: moderation. Keep working hard, but not too hard.

Keep working hard because you can still improve. Sure, a week is not much time. And you should not expect to jump ten points between now and next Saturday. But it’s still completely possible to make gains in the coming week. The first step is to identify specific deficits. Is time constraint your main barrier, or is there a particular question type that you’re consistently struggling with? Are you second-guessing yourself too much, or overlooking a specific criterion like logical force? Look through your practice tests to try to find a problem area that you can home in on. At this point, you’re just trying to pick up three to five more points. So you want to try to identify the lowest-hanging fruit. Once you’ve found it: review the underlying concepts, tweak your approach as needed, and set aside a few hours on each of the next three days to practice the problem area you’ve identified.

Also, keep working hard because you want to make sure to stick the landing. Above all, the coming week is about reinforcing all the work you’ve already done. Schedule a practice test for yourself about every other day. This will build your stamina and keep you “in shape” to sit still and concentrate for four hours on test day. It will also let you solidify your game plan. For example, if you’re still unsure whether you’ll do three or four games, make a final decision now and stick to it on the final few practice tests. Treat your last two practice tests like dress rehearsals. Take them under the same conditions and use the same game plan, as you will on test day.

But don’t overdo it. Don’t schedule back-to-back practice tests or pull any all-nighters. You want to feel prepared on test day, but you also want to feel fresh. So don’t burn out. On the Friday before your test, do minimal (if any) LSAT prep. Spend a few hours in the morning reviewing old practice tests (or your error bank, if you have one) and then relax for the rest of the day. Maybe watch Interstellar and appreciate how pretty black holes are– from afar.

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